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Police chief’s admission on racism in force gives next boss ‘a base to build on’

Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Iain Livingstone made the admission on Thursday.


Sir Iain Livingstone’s admission that Police Scotland is “institutionally racist and discriminatory” will allow the next chief constable to build on progress to tackle the problem, a senior officer has said.

Sir Iain, who will end his tenure as the force’s chief constable this summer, made the comment during a meeting of the Scottish Police Authority on Thursday.

Assistant Chief Constable David Duncan told the BBC’s Sunday Show that Sir Iain’s admission means his replacement “has got a base to build on”, and he hailed it as “a real tangible step forward into making progress”.

Mr Duncan added: “People have described this to us as a bit of a drag, an albatross around the neck, if you don’t recognise the problems that you have.

“What the chief has done is release that anchor for the next chief constable to come in and build on the progress we will continue to make.”

Chief Constable Sir Iain Livingstone
Sir Iain Livingstone will retire as Police Scotland’s chief constable this summer (Robert Perry/PA)

Mr Duncan is in charge of the Policing Together initiative, which is the banner for action to tackle discrimination within the force.

He said the project aims to lead to “enhanced trust and confidence across all communities throughout Scotland”.

He would not be drawn on whether other forces in Britain should follow Police Scotland’s “leadership” in the area.

“We are concentrated on Police Scotland, but I think the leadership that we are showing as an organisation is something that others are interested in,” he said.

On the problems raised by the outgoing chief constable, Mr Duncan said: “I think it would be naive to think that this doesn’t exist as part of Western society.”

He said tackling discrimination within Police Scotland is an “ongoing journey”, and the force has to “inoculate ourselves into the future”.

Mr Duncan added: “We can never be complacent, but we’re going to make progress now and into the future to be the best service we can for Scotland.”

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